Virgin Atlantic 90K Sign-up Bonus Back

Bank of America issues Virgin Atlantic’s credit card and every so often they release what seems like a very generous sign-up bonus of 90,000 miles. It’s a decent bonus (for a pretty decent program) but it’s not truly 90K once you break down how it all works. Here’s a look at the offer:

The offer

  • 20,000 Flying Club bonus miles after your first retail purchase
  • 50,000 additional Flying Club bonus miles after you spend at least $12,000 in purchases within 6 months of your account open date
  • Earn up to 15,000 additional bonus miles each anniversary after qualifying purchases
  • Earn up to 5,000 Flying Club bonus miles when you add additional authorized users to your card
  • Earn 3 miles per $1 spent directly on Virgin Atlantic purchases
  • 1.5 miles per $1 on all other purchases
  • 25 tier points per $2,500 in purchases (maximum 50 per month) to elevate your Flying Club status
  • $90 annual fee (not waived)
  • No foreign transaction fees

Sign-up bonus

As seen above, the sign-up bonus has four components to it:

  • 20,000 Flying Club bonus miles after your first retail purchase
  • 50,000 additional Flying Club bonus miles after you spend at least $12,000 in purchases within 6 months of your account open date
  • Earn up to 15,000 additional bonus miles each anniversary after qualifying purchases
  • Earn up to 5,000 Flying Club bonus miles when you add additional authorized users to your card

The easy part of the sign-up bonus is earning 25,000 miles, since you only have to make a single purchase and add an authorized user to earn that. The additional 50,000 miles is only earned after you spend $12,000 in 6 months. That’s a lot of spending for some people, so it may not be very practical, especially considering that you could hit multiple other sign-up bonuses with that level of spend.

And finally, you don’t get the additional 15,000 bonus miles until you reach an anniversary.

So really this only a 75K sign-up bonus, which isn’t bad considering what you can do with Virgin Atlantic miles.

What can you do with Virgin Atlantic miles?

Virgin Atlantic is a 1:1 transfer partner of American Express, Chase, and Citi, making it very easy to accrue miles for its program.

The biggest knock against Virgin Atlantic is that using points for flights on their own metal can result in some pretty high fuel surcharges. The plus side is that some of the rewards are pretty cheap so it’s like getting a big discount when paying cash in some cases.

There’s also some good value on partner airlines. While Virgin Atlantic is not a member of an alliance, they partner with several airlines, such as Delta, Singapore, ANA, Hawaiian, and a few others. On several of these partners, fees can be pretty minimal. The drawback is that one way awards cost the same as roundtrip awards so you pretty much want to just stick to booking roundtrips.

If you do enough research, you’ll find some pretty good sweet spots for some of these partner awards. For example, one very popular sweet spot is using 120,000 Virgin Atlantic miles for a roundtrip first class ticket to Japan with ANA and only about $180 in fees. That’s around 100,000 miles cheaper than what Star Alliance partners United and Aeroplan would require! You can read up more on the sweet spots for Virgin Atlantic partners here.

Final word

This offer comes and goes so I wouldn’t feel a lot of pressure to jump on it. Also, getting a lot of value from Virgin Atlantic on partners requires a fair amount of research and hustle since they don’t publish award charts and you’ll have to call in to check on bookings. If you’re willing to do a little bit of work, though, you can find some great deals and since Virgin Atlantic points can be transferred from Amex, Citi, and Chase, you shouldn’t have trouble earning enough miles for your redemptions.

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